Euro 2020: Hungary President Claims Taking the Knee is ‘Provocation’


President of Hungary Viktor Orban has claimed that the Irish players taking the knee before kick-off in their friendly game with Hungary was a “provocation” for the fans.

Viktor Orban Calls Taking the Knee in Hungary ‘Provocation’

The President ‘Agrees’ With Fans Who Boo Players Taking the Knee

The Republic of Ireland players took the knee before the beginning of their friendly game in Budapest ahead of Euro 2020. A loud circus of boos was heard from the crowd when they did, while the Hungarian players did not repeat the gesture. Irish manager Stephen Kenny came out after the game and labelled the booing “incomprehensible” and “damaging” for Hungary as a nation.

The boos were not the first negative reaction to players taking the knee before games. Crowds reacted similarly at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough when England players took the knee before recent games against Austria and Romania.

Asked about Kenny’s comments and the boos, Orban told a press conference: “If you’re a guest in a country then understand its culture and do not provoke it, do not provoke the host. We can only see this gesture system from our cultural vantage point as unintelligible, as provocation.

“The fans reacted the way those who are provoked usually react to provocation. They do not always choose the most elegant form (of reaction) but we have to understand their reasons. I agree with the fans. I don’t think this has any place on the pitch. Sport is about other things.”
Like Kenny, Gareth Southgate has explained the players’ stance is not in support of any political organisation or movement and pleaded with fans to stop booing their own players even if they “don’t understand the message.”
Orban also claimed the kneeling is down to guilt over a history of slavery in certain countries, and that Hungary does not feel that guilt due to not having been involved in slavery. He said: “This is a hard, serious moral burden, but every nation must carry this burden on their own. They need to sort this out themselves.”
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